The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) is native to Minnesota and was once relatively abundant in this area. After a long period of decline, however, this species was classified as “threatened” in 2000 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Because Canada lynx are typically nocturnal, solitary, and wary of people, it is difficult to study them in the wild. Researchers from the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth have been using innovative methods to track and study lynx in the Great Lakes region of Minnesota. Specifically, they have been investigating lynx distribution, habitat use, abundance, and persistence. To better understand these issues, they have outfitted numerous lynx with radio telemetry and GPS collars. The GPS collars, in particular, allow researchers to remotely obtain important information about lynx ranging behavior and habitat use, activity levels and ambient temperatures. Funding from Minnesota Zoo’s Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program in 2007, 2008, and 2009 has helped cover the costs of radio collars, field equipment, and surveys. This project was championed by Tom Ness, Tropics Mammals Supervisor at Minnesota Zoo.